Courtesy of Kelly Chan Photography
Photo by Diane Fields
Try coasters or bottle openers stamped with your "I do" date.
SPILL YOUR FAMILY'S SECRET RECIPES.
Your guests will dig a cute card printed with the instructions for making your aunt's "world famous" popovers or Grandma's mind-blowingly delicious marinara sauce.
DO DOUBLE DUTY.
Choose escort cards that double as favors. Having a destination wedding? Luggage tags will get your guests to their tables and back home again. Got a sweet tooth? Attach cards to gourmet lollipops.
TELL YOUR STORY.
Did you and your fiance see a movie on your first date? Dole out big boxes of Junior Mints or Raisinets, along with a note card with the tale printed on it. (Two thumbs up!)
HIT THE KITCHEN.
Browse the farmer's market with your fiance, then head home to whip up some country-spun goodies. Tried-and-true ideas: jam, pickles, even jerky!
MAKE YOUR BUDDIES COMFY.
In the summer, decorative fans will cool guests' brows. If it's chilly outside, opt for a basket of inexpensive wraps and scarves to keep them cozy at the reception.
Set up a digital camera and printer, and have guests each snap a pic. Have them use double-sided tape to attach it to cut-to-size card stock with your wedding date written on it. (Put magnet tape on the back so they can stick it on the fridge!)
TAKE A CUE FROM THE CANDY BAR.
Instead of chocolates and jelly beans, have folks fill muslin pouches with their choice of coffee beans or loose-leaf teas.
Give presents that capture the spirit of your big day's location. A small tin of Old Bay seasoning is perfect for a Maryland wedding, while a bottle of barbecue sauce works for a Texan affair. If you're heading to the beach, send friends and family home with saltwater taffy or peanut-butter fudge.
MAKE DONATIONS IN YOUR GUESTS' HONOR.
Pick causes that you and your friends are passionate about, then label fishbowls with the name of each charity. Guests can each drop a "token" into the bowl of their choice to help determine how much moolah goes where.
—Cathy Schroeckenstein, Wedding Bee